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and a strong wind or a heavy frost often visits the hopes of the cotton planter with disappointment; and the caterpillar, the blight, and noxious bugs add their ravages to those of the elements.
When in a flourishing state, the cotton fields of the south exhibit an appearance which, although peculiar, cannot fail to delight the lovers of natural scenery. The different colors which the pods and blossoms assume during the different stages of their vegetation, present a varied scene, which is beautiful in its general character, and of which the prominent features are waving groups of foliage, with blossoms of yellow, crim. son, brown, and white, which hang from the vines, and intermingle the most brilliant hues with the green. These, however, are continually changing, according to the stage of the several crops, and the variations of the seasons, and during the time for gathering in the harvests, the pe. culiar aspect of the negroes, with their baskets or bags, collecting the valuable buds, display a spectacle that is singular in the impressions which it would be likely to produce upon those who are unaccustomed to such associations.
As regards the commercial character of the different species of Ame. rican cottons, so variable in price, and also the matter of almost daily speculation, not only in this country but in Europe, we subjoin a state. ment of the several kinds that are imported into the British market, and for which we are indebted to the elaborate work of Dr. Ure, on the cot. ton manufacture.
Georgia Sea-island.-- This is raised on the seacoast of Georgia, and the small islands which form the neighboring archipelago. Though not decidedly yellow, it has somewhat of a dull butter tint, which distinguishes it from white cotton. It is remarkable for its long staple, the filaments being three times longer than those of the Indian cotton wool. It has a silky softness. It is sometimes dirty, but the well-cleaned and the best is preferred to every other quality for spinning fine yarn; and indeed, it is indispensable for the finest. The reason of this superiority appears to be the cylindrico-spiral form, and equability of its filaments, which facilitates their torsion into a uniform thread.
Georgia Upland.—This cotton grows in the interior of the country, as its name denotes, and though far inferior to the preceding, it is a valuable wool for coarse yarns.
It is white, occasionally dirty, of a short unequal staple, light and weak. It was long called Bowed, because it was originally cleared from its seeds by the blows of a bowstring, a most fatiguing operation, which Whitney's saw-gin has superseded.
Tennessee.-Resembles the last sort, but is generally cleaner and better.
New Orleans.—Like the last two, but somewhat superior.
Pernambuco.—Has a fine long staple, clean and uniform. It is much used by the hosiers.
Maranham.—This is not quite of so good a staple as the last, nor so well cleaned; it holds the same rank as Demerara cotton.
Bahia.-Slightly superior to Maranham.
Surinam.-A long-stapled cotton, a faint yellow tinge, but a clean cotton; in request for hosiery.
Demerara. This is a fine white glossy wool, generally very well
cleaned, and picked before packing. It spins into a clean stout yarn, and has now risen to a level at least with the Pernambuco.
Berbice -Like Demerara.
Egypt.—This cotton has been much improved in the course of some years, by the enlightened policy of the pasha. He imported seeds from Cyprus, Smyrna, Brazil, Georgia, and other countries, and has produced a cotton which occasionally comes near the sea-island. It is seldom well cleaned.
West Indian.-In the Bahamas a tolerably good cotton has been grown from the Bourbon seed, though much inferior to the Bourbon itself. The staple is fine and silky, but the cotton is not well cleaned.
Barbadoes.--This is of middling quality; staple rather short, but silky and strong. It contains too much of the seed husk.
The most direct mode, however, of arriving at a correct knowledge of the progress of the cotton cultivation in this country, is by examining the statistics of its production and exportation, from year to year. Not only was the production, but the exportation also, modified by various circumstances connected with our foreign policy during the early stages of the government. The war of 1812, together with the embargo, and the commercial restrictions which were consequent upon that event, tended to increase its production at that particular time, as we were cut off from foreign markets, and it was deemed the policy of the people to encourage their own manufactures. The manufacturing interest, at this period, re. vived throughout every part of the Union. But this interest was proportionately checked on the return of peace, for our markets then became flooded with foreign goods, not only from Great Britain, but the East In. dies; and it was this influx of foreign fabrics which induced the applica. tion of the American manufacturers for protection, and laid the founda. tion for the tariff of 1816. From the year 1768 to 1779, only about five millions of pounds were annually exported into England.
It has been computed that the entire growth of cotton in the world is one thousand million of pounds, and that of this amount five hundred and fifty millions are produced in the United States ; thirty in Brazil ; eight in the West Indies; twenty-seven in Egypt; thirty-six in the west of Africa; one hundred and ninety in the west of Asia; thirty-five in Mexico and South America, with the exception of Brazil; and fourteen elsewhere. This crop, at ten cents per pound, a price which is the least to which it has ever attained, without doubt would be worth one hundred millions of dollars. Of that amount it is estimated that three hundred and fifty millions of pounds are consumed or manufactured in England; one hundred and fifty millions in the United States; eighty in France; two hundred and fifty in India and China; twenty-five in South America and Mexico, including Brazil; thirty-five in Germany; forty-five in Turkey and Africa; ten in Spain ; twenty in Prussia ; and the remainder elsewhere. By this estimate it is stated that the value of cotton manufactures in England is annually one hundred and seventy millions of dollars; in France, seventy millions; and in the United States, fifty millions. We have inserted these estimates, which must be con. sidered very general, in order to show the great magnitude of the cotton interest throughout the world so far as production and capital are con. cerned, and its relative importance to the United States.
The extension of the cotton culture produced by the augmented manufacture abroad and consequent demand, as well as by the invention of Whitney, was soon felt throughout the country, and new lands were constantly brought in to contribute to its production. What the precise amount of this increase was, from time to time, is unknown, excepting from a conjectural computation. A letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting to congress divers tables and notes on the cultiva. tion, manufacture, and foreign trade of cotton on the fifth of April, 1836, presents a thorough digest of the most important facts upon the subject that could be obtained, and in that letter we find a table showing the probable increase of the cotton production, from year to year.
That table was compiled from the best data that could be procured, no official returns having been discovered of the growth of cotton in each state, and it was computed from the foreign exports of cotton from each state, the exports coastwise, the quantity exported from each not grown within its limits, and the amount yearly consumed within its limits. From this it appears that in the year 1791 the state of Georgia produced about a half a million of pounds, and South Carolina a million and a half of pounds during that year. In 1801, the states of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee, had embarked in the same cultivation; the former having produced four millions of pounds ; Virginia, five millions; and Tennessee one, during that year. Ten years afterwards, tracts of new land had been colonized upon the banks of the Mississippi, and two millions of pounds of cotton had been produced in 1801, in that fruitful region of the country. Alabama and Mississippi were not backward in securing to themselves the advantage of this profitable product; and according to the estimate of the Secretary of the Treasury, twenty millions of pounds were produced in the former state, and ten in the latter state, during the year 1821. Florida and Arkansas soon fol. lowed, and by the production of the same staple, swelled to a considerable amount this species of production. From the document of the Secretary of the Treasury which was furnished to congress, we subjoin the following table, which shows the production, at periods of ten years, from 1791 to 1834. RELATIVE PROPORTIONS OF COTTON GROWN IN THE DIFFERENT
STATES. Vir. N. Caro. s. Caro- Geor. Flo. Ala. Ten Missis. Louisi. Ark. Years.
ginia. lina. lina. gia. rida. bama. nessee. sippi.
We also here exhibit the amount of cotton grown in the world during the same period, in order to show the relative proportion produced by the United States. *
* See White's History of American Manufactures, p. 365.
MILLIONS OF POUNDS GROWN IN VARIOUS PARTS OF THE WORLD.
Having thus traced briefly the progress of the cotton production in the United States, we propose to designate the different species of that product, and the mode of its cultivation in this country. There are three different species, each of which possesses numerous varieties, among the prominent of which are the herbaceous cotton, the shrub cotton, and the tree cotton. The shrub cotton, varying according to the climate, has a resemblance to a currant bush, and its size and appearance are modified in some measure by the soil. It is found wherever the herbaceous cotton is produced; its flower and fruit are similar to that plant, and it sometimes attains the height of ten or twelve feet, being common in the tropical portion of Asia, Africa, and America. This species is planted in holes seven or eight feet apart, the shrubs requiring to be well pruned and weeded; and with such culture the plantations will yield good cotton five or six years, two crops being sometimes gathered during a single year, the one from October to December, and the other from February to April. Of this species is the Guiana and Brazil. The tree cotton flourishes not only in some parts of this continent, but also in India, China, and Egypt, and also in some parts of the interior and western coast of Africa, and sometimes attains the height of from twelve to twenty feet. This, however, is of inferior quality, and we pass to a consideration of the annual herbaceous cotton, the species which is most commonly cultivated throughout the southern portion of the United States for market.
This cotton usually grows to the height of from eighteen to twenty-four inches, having leaves of a dark green, coursed by brownish veins, divided into lobes, its blossoms consisting of a flower of pale yellow, possessing one large pistil and five leaves, with a purple spot at the bottom. A pod appears as the flower falls off, which assumes a triangular form, and possesses a pointed end with three cells. As the cotton fruit ripens, it becomes brown, increasing to the size of a large filbert, when the pod soon bursts from the expansion of the wool, and a ball of snow-white or yellowish down is disclosed, comprised of three locks in the cells, closely adhering to the seeds, which somewhat resemble, although they are much larger than those of the grape. The short-staple cotton is inferior in quality, as we before remarked; still, since it can be produced over a wider extent of surface than the sea-island, its production extending over the greatest portion of our cotton-growing territory, and in much greater abundance than the former staple, it presents a source of larger wealth to the nation than the more valuable kind to which we have referred. This, therefore, may be considered of more importance than the other in point of national profit; because whatever it lacks in quality, it makes up in the
great quantity that is yielded by the soil of the southern and southwestern states.
We here subjoin the form of the pod and flower of this species of cotton, constituting, in this country, a valuable kind for commerce.
Short-staple Cotton Plant. The different species of cotton that are found in the United States, are divided into two principal kinds, the sea-island and the upland. The several varieties grown in the different states, are, however, generally distinguished in name by the different states in which they are produced, such as Tennessee, New Orleans, and Alabama. The most valuable species, the sea-island, has a long and fine staple, and is peculiarly adapted to the manufacture of the finest fabrics. In the production of this species, an influence appears to be produced upon the fabric by a saline atmosphere, so that it is only cultivated along the seacoast and low islands of South Carolina and Georgia, where the plant may be directly exposed to the atmospheric spray of the ocean. Salt indeed appears to be a most valuable assistant to its full perfection, salt mud being the most approved manure ; and in proportion as the cultivation of the plant recedes from the ocean, its quality becomes coarser and less valuable. Its texture is silky, possessing a sort of yellowish hue; and being long as well as strong in the staple, it is used for the spinning of only the finest quality